A paradigm is a way of thinking, a belief system that you filter everything you think, hear, see, and read through. The filter screens out any information that doesn't fit the paradigm, so we continually reinforce what we already believe to be true or possible (whether it is or not) and discard new ideas (even when they might be life-changing).
The dominant paradigm about "weight management" today is "eat less, exercise more." I put those in quotes because they reveal the power of the paradigm. They imply that the goal of eating and exercise is to manage your weight. At the risk of being screened and discarded by your filter, let me ask you: Isn't the fundamental goal of eating to fuel and nourish your life? Isn't the fundamental goal of exercise to live to our fullest capacity? To have fun and increase your stamina, strength, flexibility, and health—rather than counteracting the food you eat?
Weight management is a result, not a reason. And it is not even a direct result at that!
The "weight management" paradigm is flawed, yet it is so pervasive that millions of people are trapped in outdated beliefs and behaviors, despite all of the evidence that it is not moving the majority toward healthier, happier, more vibrant lives. Health professionals, the media, the Internet, and friends, spouses, and parents everywhere continually feed the pipeline with biased information that supports the paradigm—not because they are malicious or ignorant, but because it is their paradigm too.
A paradigm shift finally occurs when the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change.
What is the pain of staying the same? Futile yo-yo dieting, deprivation, overeating, low energy, poor health, damaged self-esteem and self-confidence, and on a culture level—unfair stigmatization, mounting health care costs, decreased productivity, chronic disease, and distraction from what is truly important—healthy, happy people who are not obsessed with weight, dieting, or food.
What is the pain of change? Fear of making a mistake; admitting we were wrong; learning new beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors; making the effort to do something new; going against the tide; etc.
I believe that many individuals are finally ready to shift their paradigm. Perhaps our culture is even preparing for such a shift as the evidence mounts that what America has been doing toward the goal of "weight management" is NOT working—and it won't work in other countries that are on the same trajectory either.
If you've made it this far into this post, you may be ready for that shift. Stay tuned. It's coming.